Thursday, April 30, 2009

Prayers Needed

We have just recieved word that a dear friend of ours, D, from our Bible Study has been injured while serving in Iraq. D is an EOD tech (he diffuses bombs), and has a wife, two step children, and a baby on the way here in our hometown. He was diffusing a bomb when it went off and he sustained injury to both hands as well as one ear. He was sent to Baghdad and is in surgery now. Please pray for him and his family, that God will protect him and heal him, and send him home safely to his family as soon as possible. D, we appreciate all you have done to serve our country and make the world a safer place for future generations.

Elmer the Elephant

We went to the libary today, and the librarian read this book during story time. I thought little Elmer the elephant was just so cute, so we decided to make him ourselves. To make this, I free-handed a head, body and trunk of an elephant on white paper. I cut them out, and then glued them to a bit of card board to keep them stiff. Then I had the kids paint different colored squares on Elmer using a kitchen sponge cut up into squares. Once he dried, I cut him out of the cardboard, and we glued on sequin eyes and the trunk.

You'll notice Little Bean's elephant is missing a head--he was gluing on the eyes and then attached the trunk, asking me if that was how we were going to assemble him. I thought little Elmer was so cute this way that we left him. We added a yarn tail to his Elmer.
Miss O also got creative with hers. I had intended for them to put the head kind of off to the side, but she insisted that the head should go directly on top. :) So, of course, we left hers that way too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ice Cream Shoppe in a Box

Every so often we receive a free coupon magazine in the mail called Clipper's Magazine. This past weekend, we received one, and on the front cover was an ad for a local ice cream parlor. The ad was like a little game of 'choose your own toppings', and they had pictured a bowl of frozen yogurt and then to the side a variety of toppings you could choose from. They added little dotted lines around each topping and a picture of scissors, indicating that you could cut out the toppings and decorate your bowl of ice cream. Obviously, no normal person looking at this magazine would even think about playing this game, but I immediately saw the potential for a fun little game for my kids. :)

I love making games for my kids, and if I can do it for free, all the better. I cut out the bowl of ice cream and the toppings and laminated them on my home laminator. Then I added sticky back magnetic tape to the back of the toppings and adhered the bowl of ice cream to a sheet of magnetic paper and then cut it out. I stored all of it in a metal tin with a latch, which I plan to use in the car. Who doesn't love decorating their own ice cream?? And of course, I ran to my mom's house and asked for her Clipper's magazine so that I could make a second set so the kids could each have their own bowl of ice cream!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

d, b, and p--Visual Discrimination

Little Bean knows all the letters and their sounds, and is doing a bit of reading (CVC words only). However, I find that many times he gets the sounds for d, b, and p mixed up, which I know is a common problem. In order to work on this a little bit, we tried the following activity.

I pulled out three letter cards (d, b, and p, of course) and then gathered several toys that began with these three letters. I asked him to arrange the toys underneath the appropriate letter. He has no problem telling me what the initial sound is in any (or most any) word. However, this activity was extremely difficult for him, because he got confused on which letter was which visually. He knew diaper began with the /d/ sound, but couldn't remember which letter represented that sound. Once he had at least one item under each letter, he was able to complete the activity because he would just compare the sound of the object in question with the sounds of each of the objects under the different letters. He was able to complete the activity with some help from me, but I need to think of some more ideas to help with visual discrimination.

Any suggestions??

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Kite

I saw this cute little kite on A Mommy's Adventures, and thought I'd give it a go with the kids. Little Bean was in a foul mood all day, so this activity was only for Miss O and I (Little Bean spent most of the day in and out of time out). I started by cutting out a large diamond from construction paper. Then I took some scrap paper of different colors and cut out a bunch of triangles to decorate the kite. Miss O glued those on while I cut a piece of lanyard string and a bunch of colored straws up for lacing the tail of the kite. I also cut out four paper bows to add to the tail. She strung three straw pieces and then one bow until the tail was full. To make a hole in the bow, I just cut a slit and slid them on. I believe a hole punch would be too large and all the bows would fall to the bottom of the tail instead of being space out. Once the tail was done, I taped it to the back, and wa-la, we were done. All in all, a very calming activity for a hectic afternoon.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tot School

Tot School

Miss O is 2 years and 9 months old.
This week in Tot School:
Miss O played with the pop beads. She didn't stick with this for too long:
Miss O, Little Bean and myself all took turns with the mystery bag puzzle:
She made up stories with felt. She actually did this one for a while. I rotated out the felt pieces this week, so maybe that is why:
She played with the magnadoodle:
And did the nesting dolls a few times:
She did some work with these foam puzzle pieces. I got these at the thrift store for 3 dollars this week. Unfortunately many of them are losing the sticker picture in the front, so I am refurbishing them as they fall off. Perhaps when I am done I will do a post on the new and improved foam puzzle blocks!
She did this heads and tails game printed from 1+1+1=1 (you can find them on my side bar):
And worked on our file folder puzzle:
Here she is working on a Tangram pattern card. She actually did really well with this!
DH snapped this shot--Miss O doing storytime with her dollies! Can you tell she's been to too many storytimes at the library to count??
Squeeze and Match:
And then Melissa and Doug puzzles:
A bit of fill and spill, this time with toothpicks. This turned out to be a little too pokey (compared to the popcycle sticks in a coffee mug) for my taste. I don't know if I'll bring this out again for a while.
The open and shut game I posted about earlier this week was a total success with the both of them:
And lastly, a bit of Hi Ho Cherri-O with Grandma:

What a week!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Homemade Stencils

I was itching to do something new with the kids today, so I started looking through one of my curriculum books (this particular one is focused on fine motor skills) and saw this idea for homemade stencils.

I gathered up three plastic lids from the pantry, and drew a few simple shapes on the bottoms. Then I cut the shapes out, making shape stencils. Since Miss O can't really draw with stencils yet and I wanted to include her in the activity, I decided we would sponge paint with the stencils.
Using three colors of paint and a kitchen sponge cut into squares, I had the kids lay the stencils down on paper and hold them in place with their non-dominant hand. They dipped the sponges into the paint and patted them over the stencil until none of the paper showed. When we lifted the stencils up to see the designs, the kids were surprised! Miss O espescially liked this activity, and even asked for a second sheet of paper. The texture of the paint was quite nice once it dried as well. I'm sure I'll be making more of these stencils in the future!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tangrams and Construction of Shapes

Here's a Pre K activity you might consider doing with your little one. Little Bean and I gave this a try a couple days ago, and he really enjoyed the discovery that is inherent in this activity. We often work with Tangrams, usually following a patterned picture, but on this day, I decided to spend some time with Little Bean discovering the individual shapes, and how they are made up.

I don't know how all Tangram sets are, but ours has small, medium and large triangles, a square, and a parallelogram. Each is constructed in such a way that you can use the smaller shapes to construct the larger ones. We have 4 sets of shapes which came with our Tangram patterns, in four colors. To do this activity, you at least have to have 2 or 3 sets of shapes.

To give him a reference point for what this activity was all about, we talked about how in the past, Little Bean had figured out that two large triangles put together make a square. This was something he had figured out when doing a pattern card that required you to combine a couple shapes in order to finish the pattern. I wanted to start with the largest shape and move down in order of size. So, I asked him how we could make a large triangle using some of our smaller triangles. We discovered that two medium triangles could fit over the large triangle exactly. Then I challenged him to figure out another way to make a large triangle using some of our smaller shapes. He was at a loss, so I gave him a hint, and told him to start with the square. It soon became clear that the square and two small triangles could also make a large triangle. Next, I challenged him to use the parallelogram to make a large triangle. He figured out pretty quickly that a parallelogram combined with the two small triangles fit over the large triangle exactly.
Next, we moved on to the medium triangle. We were able to make the medium triangle by using the two smallest triangles turned on their sides.
Lastly, we looked at the parallelogram and the small square. He knew right away the square could be made with the two small triangles, and we discovered together that the parallelogram as well could be made from the small triangles.
To finish, we went back the large triangle. We constructed it again, using the parallelogram, this time constructing the parallelogram with the two small triangles on top of the triangle, making three layers. The first layer was the large triangle by itself, the second layer directly on top of that was the two small triangles and the parallelogram, and the third, top layer was another two small triangles constructing the parallelogram.
Little Bean REALLY liked this activity. His face just lit up and he'd begin to laugh each time we made a new shape in a different way. I can't wait to do this again with him. I know the more we do it, the deeper his knowledge of shapes will go. And check out Miss O--I didn't realize it at the time, but she was paying attention to this activity as well!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

I'm sure many of you have heard of or read the children's book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, co-authored by Bill Martin. I was familiar with the title of this book, but before this week, had never actually read it. In our pre-k curriculum, we are spending some time exploring letters, and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is the focus book for the week. I went over to Carisa's site, and printed out her activity pack for this book, and it's been invaluable to me this week.

We used the upper and lower case letters to play Go Fish, and we also colored the coconut tree coloring books together. Miss O really liked the coloring books, but she didn't understand the Go Fish. Little Bean loves all card games, and caught on quickly to this one.

I also checked out the book and companion CD from our local library, and we read through the book several times along with the CD (read by Ray Charles!). Following that, the CD had a number of songs, with the words to the story set to a rhythm. We had a good time singing along with those.

We also made a coconut tree out of green handprints and taped that to the dish washer. We used magnetic letters to re-enact the story on our coconut tree.

And just before dinner this evening, we used lower case letter stamps and made a bit of artwork resembling the letters climbing the coconut tree. I love how these turned out!

I can't wait to continue the fun and letter learning tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Homemade Puzzle

I saw these on Funny Days With Mommy and Maddie, and knew I had to try them. These puzzles were so easy to do, and I am hoping the kids will like them. To make these, all you need are markers and six tongue depressor size Popsicle sticks. Tape the tongue depressors along the back to make them stable. Turn them over and draw a design. I chose to cover the entire surface of the sticks because I thought it would be easier for them to put together that way. Peel the masking tape off, and you are done. I used a hair tie to keep the pieces together. Little Bean and Miss O wanted to try these right away, so I let them each have at it. Little Bean completed his quickly, but Miss O got frustrated right away and didn't want to finish. I'm not sure if she was just cranky or truly didn't know how to do it. Or maybe she just doesn't like the transportation theme! Either way, I think I may have made this project too easy for Little Bean and to hard for Miss O. Hopefully they will like it more as time goes on. In any case, I like them! ;)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Open and Shut Game

I've been wanting to make this game for a while, having seen it on various blogs and knowing Miss O would love this. I think I first saw it on this blog. For some reason, I just thought I didn't have that many things that opened and closed in different ways. Turns out, once I began looking, I had more than enough variety.

To make this game, I searched the house for empty containers that opened and shut in various ways. I washed everything and then I put all the open and shut items into one box which shuts with a clasp--another open and shut item. I haven't tried this out on Miss O yet, but I am pretty certain she will love this activity. It's very simple to create, but at the same time, it develops finger dexterity, focus and attention, and teaches cause and effect and logic. I'm thinking of adding a few small toys to the mix so that she can put them into the containers as she opens and closes them, thus adding the element of size and space into the mix. You can check out my picture for ideas on what kinds of containers to use for this activity, and if you have another idea, please leave a comment and share it with me! I love to hear your ideas!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Subscribe To My Two Happy Homeschoolers

I've been told that many people prefer to subscribe to a blog, so I went ahead and added that option on my toolbar to the right. So, if you are inclined to subscribe, please do! Personally, I've never done that, but for those of you who prefer that method of keeping in touch, it's there for you! And, given that it's not my thing, please do leave a comment and let me know if I did something wrong or it is not working!

A Super Blog Award

Wow, thanks Christy for this awesome blog award. It always encourages me to continue blogging when I am honored by a blog award. Here are the rules for this one:

1. Tape the graphic up on your blog somewhere.

2.Pass it along to 5 fellow super bloggers, and comment on their blog to let them know how lucky they are today!

3. When you present your Super Blogger awards, link back to the super blogger who gave it to you.

Here are my top five for today, and I'll just say a little something about each of them, because these aren't your typical homeschooling blogs, but even still, I love them all. Knowing them (through their blogs) as I do, I am pretty sure none of them are the type to pass on an award like this, but even so, they are SUPER BLOGGERS, and that is what this award is about! Who knows, maybe they will surprise me and pass it on, which would be awesome too!

1. Wishful Wanderlust--former school teacher, turned unschooler, raising teenagers who are both unschooled and public schooled. What I love about her blog is that she is so authentic. Her blog has given me a much better understanding of unschooling as well.

2. Kelly the Kitchen Kop--Busting "Politically Correct" Nutrition. She is my one stop shop for all things food related. I first ran into her blog when seeking more information on artificial colors in food. And, she has convinced me never to eat another McDonald's hamburger again!

3. One Child Policy Homeschool--Homeschooling mom to one, living in People's Republic of China. I really love reading her blog because she talks a lot about her experiences in the Chinese culture and shares beautiful photos of her life there. I have a special place in my heart for China too--DH and I have both lived there in the past, he for more than 5 years (!), and we desire to move there full time in the future.

4. The Best Days of My Life--I know this blogger personally, and I'll admit it, I am addicted to her blog. She is not a homeschooler, she is a writer. And she always (generally daily) has some wonderful words of wisdom to share with her readers.

5. Snazzle Craft--this is a pretty sweet craft blog. This is where I got my felt food pattern for the chip bag and chips. I've also made a ring she posted about. She always has great ideas, which I love to check out. If I was more crafty, I would try more of them.

A Spring Hat

The inspiration for this hat came from here. Ours turned very different looking (her's were much prettier!), however, I based them on the same idea. To make these, I used a long piece of green construction paper and cut it out in the shape of the stems. Then I cut out various shaped flowers of different colors, as well as leaves. The kids simply glued the flowers and leaves on, adding buttons to some of the centers, and glitter just to make it more sparkly. I let them dry and then measured their heads and taped the sides together. I needed a little extra paper to make them big enough for their heads. They didn't enjoy wearing these as much as I would have thought, but it was fun craft anyway.

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